Svoboda, MacKenzie secure PGA Tour cards


Andrew Svoboda ended the Tour regular season in 25th place on the money list, ensuring he’d have a place on the PGA Tour in 2013-14, but only one of the lowest priority.

That all changed on Sunday.

A product of St. John’s University, Svoboda made par on the first playoff hole to defeat Will MacKenzie at the Chiquita Classic.

The victory moved Svoboda into third place in the adjusted Finals ranking, clearly helping his standing going into the upcoming PGA Tour campaign. It’s the culmination of a strangely impressive campaign for him this year. In 18 starts as a PGA Tour rookie, he made only five cuts and earned just $77,219. But in seven appearances on the developmental circuit, he won the Price Cutter Charity Championship to retain his card for next season.

As for MacKenzie, the loss may sting, but the reward will still be sweet.

One of the greatest characters to come through the PGA Tour in recent years, MacKenzie moves up to the fourth position on the Finals ranking, also ensuring his return to the big leagues.

A former snowboarder, surfer and kayaker, MacKenzie took a lengthy hiatus from golf that included living in his van for five years. He also lived in a cave for a while, where he once contracted frostbite.

After a strong opening round at the 2007 Mercedes-Benz Championship, he not only revealed the name of his hotel in a live television interview, he gave his room number, too. When fans started calling the room, he simply picked up the phone and spoke with them.

MacKenzie previously had just one top-10 in 18 starts on the Tour this year, finishing 40th on the regular season money list.